Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, himself a former Sub-Inspector, does not like lousy and pot-bellied cops and said a policeman should be "sturdy" and not look like an "old man".
"Many times we feel that a Home Guard is just standing and he is in uniform. I personally feel that a man who is in uniform must be sturdy and very perfect to show that a man who is wearing uniform is my protector. He should not look like an old man of 75-80 years...," Shinde said.
He was addressing the top brass of central police and paramilitary forces on the occasion of the Golden jubilee celebrations of Civil Defence and Home Guards in New Delhi.
"I think you all (police and paramilitary chiefs) will take note of this," he said.
Shinde, during the event, also urged the citizens to enroll in big numbers as a 'volunteer' for the Civil Defence orce as he rued that a number of these inductions are just token.
"This is one force that we have to make very strong and very disciplined. I know the enrollment that is being done here (in Civil Defence) is just for the sake of enrollment and it is not upto the mark as soldiers," he said as he urged people to join Civil Defence in big numbers.
According to official data, there are 5,35,155 registered volunteers in the Civil Defence ranks across the country and the Union Home Ministry is planning to bring these numbers to a minimum one per cent of the total population in the next 5-10 years.
Shinde said the Civil Defence organisation was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression.
"Recently when we had little experience of Chinese incursion, it reminds me of the Civil Defence...," he said adding these volunteers should continuously be trained to face any man-made or natural disaster erupting in the country anytime.
"We should always prepare when we are in peace...if you want to fight war we have to prepare in peace. Government is with you and you should be with us," Shinde said.
The home minister said a "missionary zeal" is needed to serve in the ranks of the Civil Defence and this is one of the best services to be rendered by a citizen for the nation.
During the golden jubilee celebrations of the twin organisations, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said the old glory of these departments when people felt proud to be a part of them, needs to be restored.
"What needs to be done is to restore a part of their original ethos when the civil defence and home guards were conceptualised as a purely voluntary force of aware and informed citizens. So everybody, no matter what his rank in society was, came forward to participate as a civil defence volunteer.
"Being a part of civil defence or home guard was a matter of pride that is no longer there. Unfortunately what has happened in these organisations, the so called gentry, white collared people, are not coming forward to participate. That is something which this we will try to address," Singh said.
Singh said enrolment or working in these organisations has degenerated into a "wage employment scheme" and the government does not want this.
"We are now revamping this (existing system) and changing it (civil defence and home guards) to its original ethos and that requires a missionary approach," he said.
The secretary said an allocation of Rs 600 crore has also been made by the government for the civil defence.
"In order to carry forward the concept of civil defence, the largest community based initiative, as a major responder in the all-hazard emergency management at state and local levels, the government of India proposes to launch a new centrally-sponsored scheme for mainstreaming civil defence in disaster reduction with an outlay of Rs 600 crore.
"The scheme has already been approved by the Planning Commission and will be launched during the current plan period," he said.
The entire top hierarchy of the Union Home Ministry and central paramilitary forces was present during the event which included both the MoS (Home) R P N Singh and M Ramachandran,
OSD and Home Secretary in-waiting Anil Goswami, National Disaster Management Authority Vice Chairman M Shashidhar Reddy, National Disaster Response Force chief P M Nair and Director Generals of central police and paramilitary forces.
Image: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde
Photograph: B Mathur/euters